2021 Belmont Stakes Betting Breakdown: Don't Overlook Known Agenda on Saturday

SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo handicaps Saturday’s 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park, including the latest odds and best bets.
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The exciting final leg of horse racing’s 2021 Triple Crown takes place on Saturday. The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes is a wide-open field of eight offering a great investment opportunity for sports bettors.


Before you head to this betting window this weekend to make any 2021 Belmont Stakes wagers, you need to pay attention to these Best Bets from Sports Illustrated’s top horse racing handicapper Frankie Taddeo. Our Senior Gambling Analyst and Vegas Insider nailed Medina Spirit ($26.20) as his top choice in the Kentucky Derby, which also served up the exacta at odds of 251/1! His top longshot Rombauer ($26.50) won the Preakness Stakes helping all SI PRO members hit the exacta (49/1) and the "bomb" trifecta play (162/1)!


The Belmont Stakes is often referred to as the Test of the Champion, since it is the longest of the three Triple Crown races at one and one-half miles. Can Rombauer win the last leg of the Triple Crown after taking down the Preakness? Will Essential Quality rebound after faltering as the post time favorite in the Kentucky Derby? With a clean break, could Rock Your World display his top front-end speed and respond in the Belmont Stakes? All of these questions will be answered Saturday afternoon.

On Thursday, racing fans witnessed a scary scene when top jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was thrown from his mount in the fifth race at Belmont Park. Ortiz was unseated as his horse was headed toward the wire in the deep stretch and thankfully suffered only bumps and bruises. 

However, due to the fall, Ortiz will miss his mount on Known Agenda in the Belmont Stakes as well as the next several weeks of racing action. It is yet to be determined who will be in the irons on Todd Pletcher’s top entry on Saturday.

Belmont Stakes Betting Angles/Trends

  • Twelve of the last 15 Belmont posttime favorites have failed to find the winner’s circle. At an 80% clip, think hard before betting Essential Quality on top.
  • Eight of the last 12 Belmont Stakes winners have taken the path of going straight from the Kentucky Derby to the Belmont. This bodes well for Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Hot Rod Charlie and Known Agenda. Bourbonic, although he fits here, is overmatched, according to my formula.

Belmont Stakes Prefered Running Styles and Pace

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The pace of the race should be hot and heavy as Hot Rod Charlie, Rock Your World (5/1) and Essential Quality should all be forwardly placed and vie for the early lead. The discussion as to who will be able to gain the early lead and become the lone pacesetter is easily up for debate.

The question then becomes can any of the newcomers come from midpack and close into a pace meltdown that potentially could develop among the top three horses?

Who will cross the finish line first? Let’s take a look at the odds and dive deeper into this race.

Belmont Stakes (G1)

Racetrack: Belmont Park—Elmont, New York

Date: Saturday, June 5, 2021

Purse: $1,500,000

Distance: 1 ½ mile, Dirt

Race: 11

Post Time: 6:49 p.m. ET / 3:49 PT

TV Channel: NBC

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2021 Belmont Stakes Horses

Listed by post number, name and odds:

#6 Known Agenda (6/1): Losing the top connection of jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. with trainer Todd Pletcher is definitely a downgrade for a horse who drew the dreaded rail for the Kentucky Derby and finished ninth. After adding blinkers, this son of Curlin responded with two impressive wins capped off by his victory in the Florida Derby back on March 27. Known Agenda actually holds the best speed figure of any Preakness Stakes hopeful and is a horse that my formula is signaling for sharp improvement with tremendous value as the fifth-overall betting choice. We could be looking at double-digit odds now as many will likely look to fade Known Agenda after the loss of Ortiz. Talk about a sentimental story if his brother Jose Ortiz lands the mount and wins the race for his brotherTop Pick

#2 Essential Quality (2/1): Essential Quality, the post time favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, ran a disappointing fourth for all chalk players. This son of Tapit, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a two-year-old, earned wins in the Southwest Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes earlier this year. Brad Cox has this horse, who has won five of six career races, posting bullet workouts leading up to the race. As the likely posttime favorite I cannot back him on top at short odds in a field of eight, but he is a must-use on the bottom of all exotics. Top Contender

#3 Rombauer (3/1): Rombauer posted his best speed figure when he won the 2021 Preakness Stakes coming through as my formula’s top longshot play. He finished third at odds of 24/1 behind Essential Quality and Highly Motivated in the Blue Grass Stakes back in April. I expect another big effort from this son of Twirling Candy. Winning the Preakness and Belmont will not be easy as only 42 horses have historically accomplished the feat. Respect

#7 Rock Your World (7/2): John Sadler had done a great job with this colt, who was an impressive 3-for-3, before placing a tremendously disappointing 17th in the Kentucky Derby. Rock Your World was bounced around badly at the start and was compromised from the opening of the gate. This son of Candy Ride, with a clean break, will look to take the field wire-to-wire as he did in the Santa Anita Derby. Threat

Board Crasher Potential

#8 Overtook (20/1): Overtook finished third in the Peter Pan Stakes over this Belmont Park surface and has hit the board in four of five career races. This colt has one of the best distance pedigrees in the Belmont Stakes field as a son of Curlin and moonshot odds of 20-to-1 make him a must-use underneath in exotics wagers. Top Moonshot

Belmont Stakes Formula Rankings

  • #6 Known Agenda
  • #2 Essential Quality

Exacta & Trifecta Players

  • #8 Overtook*
  • #3 Rombauer
  • #7 Rock Your World
  • #4 Hot Rod Charlie

Toss:

  • #5 France Go de Ina
  • #1 Bourbonic

*Top Moonshot

By the Numbers: Equibase Top Speed Figures

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Belmont Stakes Betting Breakdown

This race will boil down to whether Essential Quality can win the final leg of the Triple Crown despite disappointing as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. I am envisioning odds of less than 2/1 as the public will likely look to support him hard—thus making him a hard value fade. 

My top play is #6 Known Agenda (6-to-1), who I will use with #2 Essential Quality (2-to-1), #7 Rock Your World (7/2) and #3 Rombauer (3/1). Due to either poor form or numbers consistently lower than the contenders, I will be tossing #1 Bourbonic and #5 France Go de Ina off all tickets.


TOP Exacta Box: 6-2-8-3-7

COST: $1 wager: $20


TOP Trifecta Part-Wheel: 6 with 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 with 2, 3, 4, 7, 8

COST: $1 wager: $20


BOMBS AWAY Trifecta SPREAD Part-Wheel: 2, 6, 8 / 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 / 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8

COST: 50¢ wager: $30


WIN BETS: #6 Known Agenda (ONLY at odds of 5-to-1 or higher)

NOTE: May look to add win wager on Overtook at odds of 28-to-1 or higher

All wagers display ticket cost. All bettors should adjust wager amounts based upon bankroll.

Good Luck!